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Civil Engineering & Construction News Round-Up for September 2018

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

'Virtual Factory' Used to Speed Up Innovation in the Steel Sector

Businesses in the steel industry are beginning to use virtual technology to fast-track innovation, saving time and money. Steel is used around the world for a vast range of applications, making it vital for the steel industry to continually innovate to keep up with changes both within and outside of the industry. Developing new steel alloys can take a long time, but companies in the steel sector are using a new way to do it faster. The use of a 'virtual factory' could allow for the development of steel alloys to be up to 100 times faster so that new products can be made available much more quickly.
Swansea University has been awarded £7 million of funding to develop a virtual factory, together with Tata Steel and WMG, at the University of Warwick. It will combine physical tests with computational modelling to carry out rapid alloy prototyping.  Read the full story


Waste Plastic Could Replace Sand in Structural Concrete

Research from the University of Bath has shown that recycled plastic could be used in place of sand in structural concrete. This could be one option to address the shortage of sand in India, as well as having a wider benefit of providing a sustainable construction solution. The research was conducted together with Goa Engineering College, and showed that 10 per cent of sand in concrete can be replaced with waste plastic, which would both help to deal with India's plastic problem and their sand shortage.

When sand was replaced with plastic in a similar size, it created concrete that was nearly as stable as conventional mixtures. The study predicted that 820 million tonnes of sand could be saved each year by replacing just 10 per cent of sand in concrete mixes. This is of particular help in India, where the construction industry is rapidly expanding and demands for sand has grown hugely. Reducing the need for sand can also help to address the problem of unregulated sand extraction.  Read the full story


Contractors Register Interest for North West Framework

North West Construction Hub - the trading name of Manchester city council with board members from across the North West region -  has invited contractors to register their interest in a public sector framework for North-West England. They have asked for no more than 16 candidates to bid for the six lots in the three-year framework. Work on offer could include modular and portable buildings, plus social facilities. Each lot is for a different region, including Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. These projects are worth £2-5 million each. The sixth lot is for construction projects anywhere in the North West, worth £5-10 million.

The total value of all of the lots isn't currently known, as some projects will depend on funding the European Union. However, they could total between £250 million and £1 billion. As well as the initial three years, there will be the option for the framework agreement to be extended by another year.  Read the full story


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